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We’d bet good money that anyone who identifies as an e-patient has been led to believe that their desire to participate actively in their medical care marks them as a “demanding patient.” The perception of demanding patients is that they’re behaving like spoiled divas at a medi-spa, with their demands driving up incidence of unnecessary or inappropriate care.

That myth is now officially busted, in no less a method than a study published in JAMA Oncology. In an accompanying op-ed, Dr. Anthony L. Back says:

“In this issue of JAMA Oncology, Gogineni and colleagues report on their empirical inquiry into patient demands, a nemesis that proves to be more mythical than real. The study hypothesis—that patient demands for treatments and scans drove unnecessary costs—was spectacularly unconfirmed when using data collected from physicians themselves. Only 8% of the patient-physician encounters at 3 cancer centers in Philadelphia involved a patient “demand,” and the majority of those “demands” were viewed by the physician as “clinically appropriate.” Suddenly, the demanding cancer patient looks less like a budget buster and more like an urban myth.”

On his Healthcare Triage YouTube channel, Incidental Economist blogger Dr. Aaron Carroll offers up a great analysis of just how very busted that myth is. Click here to view it.


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